In First Energy dispute, union shares the blame

I read with interest the Mirror’s editorial (Feb. 21) blaming First Energy Corp. for meters not getting read because of the lockout.

The article stated that electric meters hadn’t been read since October.

This is interesting to me, as I live in Hollidaysburg, and my meter reading hasn’t missed a beat: Oct. 2013 – estimated; Nov. 2013 – actual reading; Dec. 2013 – estimated; Jan. 2014 – actual reading.

February 2014 has not been received as of yet, but if it is estimated, it would be understandable as there is 1 to 3 inches of snow and ice on the path to the meter.

In a Feb. 5 article, the Mirror reported that System Local 102, Utility Workers Union of America has accused First Energy of violating Pennsylvania utility regulations by failing to read customers’ meters as frequently as required, at least once every two months.

Where has this union been? This is just not something new because they are on lockout.

In 2012 – June, July and August – I received “estimated” bills during the hottest months of the year when the whole house air (electric) was running constantly.

Again, in 2010 – January through March – I received “estimated” bills during the coldest months when the furnace ran constantly. Where were the meter readers? Were they on lockout? Perhaps the union should have filed a complaint with the PUC.

I’m sure this happens and can be expected to happen, but the union only has a complaint when they are on lockout. Perhaps if these “shut out” union workers were not demanding so much from First Energy/Penelec, they would still be working.

An offer by the company of a wage increase of 8 percent over three years life of the contract plus many other benefits is significant in today’s job market.

Having your medical coverage continue after retirement, which is what the union is holding out for, only shows where the true greed lies – not as the signs on the picket line say, “First Energy/Penelec Greed.”

Perhaps if there was not so much greed, the company would be able to install the automatic meter readings to its customers, as is prevalent in other areas of the country and very expensive.

First Energy/Penelec, stick to your extremely lucrative, fair, last, best, final offer.

No one is guaranteed retiree health care benefits.

Merv Copp